Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, and a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama's Challenge and other books.

Recent Articles

The Politics of Going to War

P resident Bush is marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by drumming up support for his next war. Yet except for the fact that both enemies are radical Arabs rooted in different parts of the Middle East, the two conflicts have little in common. Indeed, the administration has lately abandoned its efforts to link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda. Nearly all Americans supported President Bush's war to remove al-Qaeda from power in Afghanistan. But which of us imagined that a year later we would be on the verge of another wholly unrelated war? Bush initially declared that the final decision on Iraq would be his alone. But because of qualms expressed by allies and by senior members of his own and his father's administrations, Bush will take his case to the United Nations tomorrow and then to Congress. Only days ago the administration was dismissing the idea of one last effort to get Iraq to admit weapons inspectors. And top officials were truculently insisting that the United States...

The Republican Con Game

W ith the economy softening and corporate scandals continuing to unfold, November's elections should spell good news for the opposition party. But Democrats are making only marginal headway. One reason is that Republicans have gotten so good at stealing the atmospherics of Democratic themes (though rarely the substance). Master Republican strategist Karl Rove, the chief White House political adviser, has encouraged GOP candidates to blur partisan differences, especially where Democrats have the more popular position. Also, a lot of the issues are fairly complex. So if a Republican candidate insists that she, too, favors a crackdown on corporate crooks, or legislation to safeguard pensions, or a prescription drug program, few voters have the attention span to pursue the details. Republicans are also running away from positions they've espoused in the past, such as privatization of Social Security (which no longer looks like a political winner in a falling stock market). For example, in...

Retirement at Risk

M arking the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, America finds itself in an interwar funk. We go about our business as in peacetime, even as we seem to be drifting, inexorably, toward a new and more perilous Mideast conflict. While a few foreign-policy barons are in fierce debate, most Americans would rather not think about it. The mood is not exactly escapist so much as avoidant. Describing New York in the fateful summer of 1941 (in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ), the novelist Michael Chabon wrote: "The rest of the world was busy feeding itself, country by country, to the furnace, but while the city's newspapers and newsreels at the Trans-Lux were filled with ill portents, defeats, atrocities, and alarms, the general mentality of the New Yorker was not one of siege, panic, or grim resignation to fate, but rather the toe-wiggling, tea-sipping contentment of a woman curled on a sofa, reading in front of a fire with cold rain rattling against the windows. ä Joe...

Phone Home

O ur long-distance telephone service stopped functioning last week. For The American Prospect , it was a pretty big inconvenience. For several hours, we pooled cellphones. My first call was to our bookkeeper. Were we current on our bills? We were. My second call was to Qwest, the offending long-distance company. Its lines were jammed. A company spokeswoman said she didn't know how many customers had lost service, but Qwest's own filing with the Federal Communications Commission, as required by law, indicated that 500,000 calls per hour didn't get through. The gullible public has been trained to live with the fact that Internet providers can go down for a time, but telephone service? Expect more of this. Thanks to deregulation, long distance is becoming less like an essential service and more like just another commodity. The problem is that telephone service is not an ordinary consumer product. It is a public utility. It is also what economists used to call a natural monopoly. In the...

Comment: Democracy and Dread

M arking the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, America finds itself in an interwar funk. We go about our business as in peacetime, even as we seem to be drifting, inexorably, toward a new and more perilous Mideast conflict. While a few foreign-policy barons are in fierce debate, most Americans would rather not think about it. The mood is not exactly escapist so much as avoidant. Describing New York in the fateful summer of 1941 (in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ), the novelist Michael Chabon wrote: "The rest of the world was busy feeding itself, country by country, to the furnace, but while the city's newspapers and newsreels at the Trans-Lux were filled with ill portents, defeats, atrocities, and alarms, the general mentality of the New Yorker was not one of siege, panic, or grim resignation to fate, but rather the toe-wiggling, tea-sipping contentment of a woman curled on a sofa, reading in front of a fire with cold rain rattling against the windows. ä Joe...

Pages